Relocating an intensive care unit: An exploratory qualitative study
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Background: As new hospitals are built to replace old and ageing facilities, intensive care units are being constructed with single patient rooms rather than open plan environments. While single rooms may limit hospital infections and promote patient privacy, their effect on patient safety and work processes in the intensive care unit requires greater understanding. Strategies to manage changes to a different physical environment are also unknown. Objectives: This study aimed to identify challenges and issues as perceived by staff related to relocating to a geographically and structurally new intensive care unit. Methods: This exploratory ethnographic study, underpinned by Donabedian's structure, process and outcome framework, was conducted in an Australian tertiary hospital intensive care unit. A total of 55 participants including nurses, doctors, allied health professionals, and support staff participated in the study. We conducted 12 semi-structured focus group and eight individual interviews, and reviewed the hospital's documents specific to the relocation. After sorting the data deductively into structure, process and outcome domains, the data were then analysed inductively to identify themes. Findings: Three themes emerged: understanding of the relocation plan, preparing for the uncertainties and vulnerabilities of a new work environment, and acknowledging the need for change and engaging in the relocation process. Discussion and conclusions: A systematic change management strategy, dedicated change leadership and expertise, and an effective communication strategy are important factors to be considered in managing ICU relocation. Uncertainty and staff anxiety related to the relocation must be considered and supports put in place for a smooth transition. Work processes and model of care that are suited to the new single room environment should be developed, and patient safety issues in the single room setting should be considered and monitored. Future studies on managing multidisciplinary work processes during intensive care unit relocation will add to the learnings we report here.
Australian Critical Care
© 2015 Australian College of Critical Care Nurses Ltd. Published by Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/) which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, providing that the work is properly cited.Ltd.
Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified